After a chaotic summer and start of the season, Fiorentina finally last weekend broke the trend of imploding after international breaks, and instead got their first win of the season in style, destroying what was a rather poor Hellas Verona side.
Hoping to build momentum, Stefano Pioli’s side will host their cousins from across the Apennines in an attempt to make it two in a row. Roberto Donadoni’s Bologna will be a more difficult test, however the home Derby dell’Appennino is traditionally a win for the Viola, and they could especially use their first home win of the season this weekend. This match will be played on Saturday, 16 September 2017, at 5 PM GMT/12 PM EST at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence.
After three matches and notable improvements, Fiorentina has a relatively stable starting team now, at least until Valentin Eyserric and Riccardo Saponara return from injury. After his debut against Verona, Cyril Thereau is also at risk to miss this match as he struggles to regain fitness. As a result, expect Pioli to start Giovanni Simeone alone up front with the trio of Federico Chiesa, Marco Benassi, and the increasingly impressive Gil Dias behind him in the now standard 4-2-3-1.
As far as the defense goes, an impressive display last week by Bruno Gaspar and Cristiano Biraghi on the flanks means Vincent Laurini and Maxi Olivera will remain on the bench, while in the middle, the pairing of Davide Astori and German Pezzella looks like a keeper and Vitor Hugo will likely have to wait for suspension or injury for another shot.
Donadoni’s Rossoblu got off to a promising start before being demolished by Napoli last weekend, although their defense held out for 60 minutes before the floodgates opened. On paper this Bologna squad is a tier below Fiorentina, however their defense has so far looked good until breaking down last week, only conceding one goal in the first 247 minutes of the season.
Missing Vasilis Torosidis, Cheick Keita and Cesar Falletti, Bologna’s midfield and flanks will be lacking depth, though quality options like Andrea Poli, Adam Masina, and Erick Pulgar ensure a solid defensive spine for Donadoni’s aggressive, counter based 4-3-3 system. Interestingly enough, former Viola loanee Sebastien De Maio has settled in nicely and has already played half as many minutes this year as he had during a full year on Fiorentina.
The Rossoblu’s attack is not off to an impressive start, however veteran forwards and former Fiorentina targets Mattia Destro and Rodrigo Palacio are the kind of players who love to score against us; together with promising young Italian forward Federico Di Francesco they will offer a test to see if the Viola defense is the real deal.
Fiorentina (4-2-31): Sportiello; Bruno Gaspar, Pezzella, Astori, Biraghi; Veretout, Badelj; Chiesa, Benassi, Gil Dias; Simeone
Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; Mbaye, De Maio, Maietta, Masina; Pulgar, Poli, Palacio; Verdi, Di Francesco, Destro
How to watch
TV: Because this is a Saturday game that doesn’t conflict with Barcelona or Madrid, Fiorentina will actually be on television in North America! Check here for other international options.
Online: Legal, high quality streaming options include beIN Sports Connect in North America and BT Sport Live in the U.K., for other options, check here. As always, feel free to use shadier options at your own risk, but do not share them here as we would hate to have to ban anyone.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
This one probably won’t be as one sided as last week, as at a minimum Bologna at least have a competent goalkeeper. My guess is a fun 2-1 win for the home side, with goals from Chiesa, Benassi, and Destro.